Let’s face it, we often get a job based on who we know. Without the proper connections, we can constantly feel like we’re on the outside looking in. But the truth is friends of friends can often be the “in” you need. While Facebook can be a useful tool, LinkedIn is the professional arena to reach out to those contacts that you barely know.

Blog reader and LinkedIn Coach and Trainer, Teddy Burriss, finds that he often gets LinkedIn InMail messages that have the following fatal mistake: “A product or service pitch from someone I have never engaged with, do not know, let alone trust and respect.” While Teddy prefers to have introductions come from the mutual contact, he realizes that this is not always possible. To address this problem, Teddy has produced a template that effectively highlights a mutual connection.

Hi Joshua,

Today I was with Valerie Hansen and she mentioned your name and business to me. Valerie thought it would be worthwhile for you and I to chat about our respective businesses.

I am a LinkedIn Coach and Trainer and always interested in a new connection and conversation to discover more about the people I am introduced to.

I am fairly flexible the next couple of days. Do you have time to talk tomorrow late morning? If so, what number should I call you at?

I look forward to meeting you, Joshua.

Teddy Burriss

Notice how Teddy finds it important to focus the message on the recipient and not the sender? Far too many folks who reach out to veritable strangers do so as if they are already being interviewed and proceed with a litany of their skills and assets. This is overly presumptuous and can be offensive.

For the opposite effect, include an invitation to treat someone to coffee or lunch, as we see in the example below sent in by Career Expert Brenda Bernstein:

Dear {First Name},

Jane Smith suggested that I contact you to chat about your work at {XYZ company}. I have heard such positive reviews of your company and I am very interested in applying for a position as a {fill in position}there or at a similar organization. I am a {fill in position} with solid skills in {fill in skill areas}.

I wondered if you might have time to talk briefly about what it’s like to work at {XYZ}? I’d love to take you out for coffee sometime next week if you’re available.

I’m attaching my resume for your reference. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

{Your Name}

Remember any connection will do! Here are a few examples from Sudy Bharadwaj of how simple the connections can be, like having your kids at the same school or attending the same church or participating in the same organization. As always, these templates are just meant to give you a head start in crafting those messages, so feel free to alter them to fit your unique interests as long as you keep the focus on the recipient.

SAME SCHOOL/KIDS

Subject: San Jose Elementary School

Hi Jan,

I hope you are doing well. I am reaching out since my daughter Lori is in Mrs. Smith’s 3rd grade class with Rachel. I know we have not had a chance to meet, however I am hoping you can help me out.

Your company, ABC, is hiring. I was hoping we can schedule some time with our girls and discuss your company?

I sincerely appreciate it!

Jordan

http://here.is.a.link.to.a.job.opening

SAME CHURCH / ORGANIZATION

Subject: Father Smith

Hi Kelly,

I hope this note finds you well. While our paths have not crossed at ABC, I am reaching out to you for your help in my job search. I notice several job openings at XYZ and being an insider, you may benefit from referring me into one or more of the jobs listed below.

I really appreciate your time and help!

Warm Regards,

Jordan Smith

http://here.is.a.link.to.a.job.opening

So when the job hunt is getting you down and you seem to have hit a dead end just remember that there is likely six degrees of separation (or less) between you and any hiring manager. All you need to do is use a template to quickly expand your reach.

As work-life balance expert Mary LoVerde says, “When you can’t keep up, connect!”

Part 1: LinkedIn inMail Templates: Contacting Graduates of Your Alma Mater
Part 2: LinkedIn inMail Templates: Hitting Up Former Colleagues
Part 3: LinkedIn inMail Templates: Referencing Mutual Connections

Joshua Waldman, author of Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies, is recognized as one of the nation’s top authorities in Social Media Career Advancement. To learn Joshua’s secret strategies for shortening the job search and getting the right job right away, Get The Missing Manual for LinkedIn Success

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